Grateful Dead Live at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 1983-06-18
(Front Row Balcony) Sennheiser 441 -> PCM -> CD -> Dat
Subject: If The Thunder Don't Get Ya
By the time the tickets went on sale everyone in my crew came along for the ride. We had a convoy of 4 cars and 2 vans all the way up to Saratoga and by the time we got there early in the afternoon the place was packed, There were many alien life forms walking around despensing their mind bending elixirs. Everyone of us drank their Kool-Aid that day and it was just a beautiful summer day with many happy, smiling people all around the place.
I remember looking at the SPAC and the ramps leading into its balcony and thinking it was a big spaceship. Kind of like a Noah's Ark thing going on the whole time,2 of every possible freak you could think of walking up and down around the Mother Ship. We were all tripping our balls off by this time and we decided to stay on the lawn on the jerry side, right in front of the massive stack of speakers they had hanging from the balcony outer column. WE had fun watching all the freaks walking about. The whole place was happy and you sensed something good was going to happen.
The band came on stage and started playing Bertha and all the people on the lawn started dancing, swirling around us and leaping about. It was so beautiful to see. Words can't do it justice. Boy did we love watching all girls in sun dresses whirling around. Many have said it and I agree with them on how special the vibe was.Jack Straw came next and it set the tone for the rest of the set with the Jerry song and then aBobby song thing that they used to do alot back then.A great Bird Song and Althea followed. Jerry's guitar sounded so good and it seemed to be flowing from everywhere. Healy and the sound crew did a nice job that day. They even had stacks of speakers towards the back of the lawn and I remeber all the heads dancing around them like care free children. The set ended with Deal andthe whole place was singing along with Jerry "Don't You Let That DEAL!!! Go Down"
Sacrlet Begonias opened the 2nd set and the clouds were rolling in above us. Then after messing around a bit with some cool drums they launced into and epic Fire. Yes, there was lightning coming down above the SPAC during the set and you thought somehow the boys were commanding it.Phil's Bass felt like it was moving air to blow the clouds around. Playing came next and we felt the misty rain coming down but it felt good to us because it was a warm summer night. Drums and Space made its way into The Wheel and right on cue the lightning came down when they sang the verse with lightning in it "If The Thunder Don't Get Ya Then The LIGHTNING Will!!!" Many below have mentioned this and yes it sounds cheesy but you had to be there folks. It was like Jerry was in Disney's Fantasia.Garcia the sorcerer playing with the elements in the sky above us. Next came one of the best Morning Dew's I ever heard IMO and I vividly remember some older hippie chick with long blonde hair that was siting on a lawn chair screaming "C'mon People That's Jerry Garcia Down There. Let Him Know Your Here!!!" right before it. The whole place went nuts and Jerry must of felt it beacuse this DEW had so much feeling in it. Jerry sang it with so much passion. It still gives me the chills till this day when I listen to it and his guitar playing towards the end is so angelic.
The way it eneded it was expected being it was Saturday but the Don't Ease before it was strange at the time. Yet it didn't matter beacause everything before it was magical. I ended going to all the SPAC shows and this show still ranks as the best one they palyed there. It's a shame that there is no SBD of this show in circualtion. THis recording does capture the energy very well and I do think its the better source. I give this recording 4 stars and the performance 5 stars but all in all this show is definetly 5 stars in my book because of its energy and it's epicness. Download it and enjoy!
Subject: The Show That Did It For Me
I went back to SPAC a few years back for a "Dead" show. Live Nation completely stripped the place of it's unique character.
Subject: Hometown show
The 83 show was off the hook. I'm as big a sound quality snob as the next guy but this show gets a pass. There are just no good recordings that came out of that tin can. BUT...The Scarlet jam is the scarlet jam you have always wished for without realizing it. The Dew is as big as it is billed to be. The band and crowd energy that night was as powerful as any of the 200 shows I went to. It was one of those nights that is now frozen in time. Get over the fact that the band sound like they are down the street and enjoy the roar of a crazed East Coast crowd.
I went to all 4 SPAC shows and I had my college graduation there in 86. As I walked across the stage to get my diploma I looked down...and I could swear there was still a smoking crater where Jerry played that Dew.
Subject: My Favorite Show
This show was about my 12th. I was definitely a fan by this point, but between the crowd, the chemistry, the weather, and the music, I walked out of that show with a potent addiction for more.
I since saw well over 150 more Dead concerts, but this was easily the best of them. I still feel sorry for the people inside the amphitheater, who didn't get to see the incredible lightning storm that cracked through the show, at times lighting up the evening sky as brightly as the afternoon sun. The lightning was especially intense during (no surprise) Fire on the Mountain, and it certainly seemed to be well synchronized with the music. Whether it was or not, I can recall the wonder and awe I felt as if I were still there.
The audience recording is low and a tad bit remote, but I'd rather have a good aud than a sbd of this show, because it was such a trrific crowd. Can we go back?
Subject: Maybe it's just the mood I'm in
Subject: Magical? It certainly was!!!!
All I can say about this show is MORNING DEW...it changed my life, in a split second I was transformed forever.
I gave out a few Grateful Dead tapes to folks I met in Yugoslavia. I hope those folks enjoyed them. Who knows?
Subject: magical tour
coming from the former jugoslavia way back in 1983 it was just as europe was falling in a disco mood of the 80'
we had two heads running our groups in the campus so they organised a few of us that wanted to go for the show
tim from long island a bass guitar player is the only name i can racall
we got some mescalin ice cream that worked so fine that i remember the concert as a breaktrough in my life
on my return to zagreb in what is now croatia i kept telling my friends that you ve not seen a show until you ve seen greatefull dead
this show was like a corner of light in this dark since then i have seen lots of concerts and also worked as a roady all around europe but this is the only show i have been that i remember as magic coming trough music and and straight into our sense
thanks for posting this
Subject: A Monster Night
Let’s start with the atmosphere of SPAC and the surrounding state park. It was just a beautiful day, and there were so many interesting things going on in the parking lot and the surrounding woods. I remember a huge drumming circle comprised of eighty people or so in a wooded area, complete with several jugglers – one juggler having a torch baton. It really was a circus. I also remember a ‘Space Trap’ that I stumbled across in the parking lot – these people had four boom boxes blaring in a semi circle, with four different dead tapes on, and each tape had a different version of Space playing – this trap stopped me dead in my tracks. The people who set it up would just sit there and laugh their asses off at folks like me who wandered into it, which of course had the desired effect of making me laugh my ass off as well. Another recollection (and of course, like many others, it was tainted by a hit of something that I came across in the parking lot, so perhaps this post needs to be taken with a grain of salt or three), was that there was water shooting out of every rock you could see….there were natural springs that had these wonderful fountains of water just bubbling away. I had one of those ‘lost all my friends’ moments and I wound up down by the river, watching many faces form in the ripples of the water. This was an incredibly special moment for me, and it set the mood for the rest of the evening (in fact, the calm that I experienced at that moment has been with me since, and has served me well during more stressful periods in my life). Of course, like everyone else, I found my friends again, and we all headed into the show.
Next, let me bore you a bit with the technical aspects of the sound system that the DEAD rigged up at SPAC (feel free to correct my shoddy recollection, too). In the case of SPAC, you had the stage area and the roofed audience area (if I recall, the balcony sat on top of a portion of the seated area that was under roof). On either side of the stage, the Dead had their fat assed stacks of Meyer Sound Lab speakers. Phil was about six months into playing his six string bass, and the Dead were using these big huge subwoofer boxes on each side of the stage, in addition to the standard speaker boxes that were sitting on either side of the stage, and also in addition to the wedges that were flown overhead those boxes, stage left and right. This made for a huge low end sound for Phil to drop his bombs, and they were plentiful that night. But wait – that’s not all – they threw a whole lot more in than a set of Ginzu Knives. Just outside of the roofed seating area, you had the lawn area. I happened to be in the lawn area. The Dead flew additional arrays on each of the support columns that housed the balcony, if I recall correctly. These arrays had about four or six wedges each, and right below each of these arrays were a stack of Amps (can’t recall the manufacturer – after all, this was 25 years ago, and I was just coming off a dose at that point). They also had a security dude by our column that kept his eye on the amps so they didn’t get trashed. This layout gave Healy the ability to do these amazing stereo sweeps of Jerry’s guitar – he could have Jerry’s leads fly from one end of the lawn area to the other, an incredibly long distance, with this amazingly large and loud clarity. This really was an impressive sound, and it blended just beautifully with the natural environment, especially during songs like The Wheel, and of course, Morning Dew, which was a monster Dew, mainly from Phil’s six string bombs. The dead really did it up nice that night.
Last, let’s talk about the performance and the vibe. The happiness vibe was infectious that night, and the Dead and the audience really got off on each other. For this reason, a lot of musical chances were taken that may not have been taken otherwise. From a playing point of view, the crowd provided a safe environment for the Dead to really explore – hence the strange drum timing in between Scarlet and Fire. Sure mistakes were made, but the level of excitement more than made up for them. It’s all here, even if the audience recording doesn’t perfectly capture the magnitude of the sound system, hence my 4 stars. I suggest that you download this immediately.
I would like to thank the wonderful folks who taped this show as well as the wonderful folks at Archive for doing such a wonderful service by allowing me to relive that night.
Subject: This was our launching pad.....
Then one day a month or two before this night a friend says, yeah the Dead's playin' in Saratoga. Someone says, "I ain't going to Florida" to see them. No man, SaraTOGA, in upstate NY. Well, the decision was made.
Five of us - 3 buddies and my girlfried (who's now my wife)- left Northern NJ the night before, on her birthday no less, around 11. We had absolutely no clue what we'd find when we got there, no place to stay and no idea where the venue was except that it was in Saratoga.
Two and a half hours later we pull off the Northway and somehow wind up driving around Saratoga Lake eventually finding our way to Rt 9 and onto the Avenue of the Pines - a really cool road with towering pine trees on either side that runs through the edges of the State Park.
We come to a traffic light, contemplating which way to go - left, right or straight - when suddenly the cosmic gods tap us on the shoulder....turn left.
"Why?" our driver says.
"Cause that guy walking towards us from the left is nude, man. This has gotta be the place"
A quick left, the pedestrian walkway between the lots is visible and then BAM! There it is in it's rust colored glory:
"THE SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER"
Let the games begin. Needless to say the next 48 hours were a watershed event. It was our Woodstock. It was truly the beginning of an trek we're still taking today.
June 17 and 18, 1983, for us, has never been about the music - as beautiful as it was. It was about the journey. A youthful expression of life, love, friendship and happiness. Pure laughter and joy encapsulated around a magical circus called The Grateful Dead we were lucky enough to find.
Truly the best of times.
Subject: Really Bad Sound Quality
The Dew is nice though.
Subject: saratoga springs 83
Subject: Grab this one...
Subject: weir cracks me up
Subject: Hottest show ever!
Subject: The best Jerry, the best !!!
Subject: 1st show at Saratoga
Subject: what a day---night
Subject: Reply to Weazel
Subject: This was magic
Subject: "just exactly perfect"
Never heard anything like the percussion in Scarlet->Fire before or after. Tribal beats. Sinister rhythm.
Subject: DEW ME !!
Subject: Niave Place
Subject: The great SPAC
Recording here is good, for a SPAC audience.
Subject: One for the History Books
Subject: Get the PCM!
Subject: wild show and impossible to feel from the tape the zaniness
Uploaded by Jonathan Aizen on